Lithuania's parliament on Thursday opened discussions into the draft Law on Assisted Insemination, which would stipulate state financing for expensive assisted insemination procedures for families unable to have children.
© Vida Press

After the start of the debates, a few MPs stated their positions on the bill, which led to termination of the process due to the start of the scheduled government's question-and-answer session. Algirdas Sysas, who presided over the meeting, said the discussions would continue next week.

The Seimas has been holding debates on artificial insemination for years after a clash of two different attitudes – some politicians support a conservative version, which bans freezing of embryos in an effort to protect life after the moment of conception, while the more liberal camp says freezing should be allowed to preserve women's health and ensure a higher success rate for the procedure.

MP Vida Marija Cigrijienė said the bill should be adopted to enable tens of thousands of couples to have children.

"Regardless of the evident scientific progress, the alternative of refusal to freeze embryos and ovule freezing, which is not yet possible in practice, does not work," said the MP.

Her opponent, conservative MP Rimantas Jonas Dagys, said that ethics principles should also apply in the decision of embryo freezing.

"Are we Gods or Seimas members? I think we are still members of the Seimas and persons who have the duty of protecting life," said Dagys.

Back in December of 2015, the parliament's Health Affairs Committee gave a green light to the conservative option. However, in later discussions of repeatedly-registered billss the parliament supported the version allowing to freeze embryos. The final version will be decided upon by the whole parliament.

Lithuania still does not have a law to regulate assisted insemination. Assisted insemination procedures are provided by private clinics, which follow the 1999 decree of the health minister On Approval of Artificial Insemination Procedures.

With no law in place, the procedures cannot be covered by the state-run patients' fund.

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